In addition to decision making skills and inter-personal skills, managers should also possess job knowledge to perform their jobs effectively. Trainers acquire job knowledge through on-the-job experience, coaching and understudy.
On-the–job techniques are most widely used. No other technique may interest the trainee so much as the location of the learner is not an artificial one as in the classroom technique. The success of these techniques depends on the immediate supervisor and his teaching abilities. On-the-job techniques are especially useful for certain groups like scientific and technical personnel.
In coaching, the trainee is placed under a particular supervisor who acts as an instructor and teaches job knowledge and skills to the trainee. He tells him what he wants him to do, how it can be done and follows up while it is being done and corrects errors.
An understudy is a person who is in training to assume at a future time, the full responsibility of the position currently held by his superior. This method supplies the organization a person with as much competence as the superior to fill his post which may fall vacant because of promotion, retirement or transfer.
Managers in addition, to the job knowledge, should also possess the knowledge of various jobs, products, markets, finances, creditors of the organization. The techniques of imparting organizational knowledge are job rotation and multiple management.
The transferring of executives from job to job and from department to department in a systematic manner is called job rotation. The idea behind this is to give him the required diversified skills and an overall broader outlook, which are very important at the upper management levels. The management should provide a variety of job experiences for those judged to have the potential for higher ranks before they are promoted.
Multiple management is a system in which permanent advisory committees of managers study problems of the company and make recommendations to the higher management. It is also called junior-board of executives. These committees discuss the actual problems and different alternative solutions after which the decisions are taken.
The managers in addition to job knowledge and organizational knowledge should possess General knowledge, as the external environment interacts with and influences the business. The general knowledge includes the knowledge about the economic conditions of the country, prices, GNP, per capita income, various other industries, other sectors of the economy, political conditions, social factors etc. General knowledge can be acquired through special courses, special meetings and specific readings.
- Special courses: Special courses like the workshops or executive development programmes organized by the institutes, universities and colleges help the trainees to acquire general knowledge.
- Special meetings: Special meetings organized in consumers’ forums, voluntary organizations help the trainees develop their general knowledge.
- Specific readings: Specific articles published by various journals, specific portions of the books are provided to the trainees to improve their general knowledge.
Specific individual needs:
Some trainees may be weak in some areas. Such trainees are provided with special facilities for development. These facilities include special projects and special assignments.
Special projects: In this method, a trainee is put on a project closely related to the objectives of his department. For example, a new recruit in a property evaluation firm may be asked to do a small project reviewing the prospects of selling commercial space in satellite townships. The project will give practical experience of the problems and prospects in space selling to the new recruit.
Special assignment: In this method, an adhoc team is appointed to discuss, evaluate and offer suggestions relating to an important aspect of business. For example, a group of experts may be asked to look at the feasibility of developing a software technology park in an upcoming area near a metro city.
The conference method is another commonly used method of executive development and may involve an outside place so that executives from other companies can also participate. Topics such as human relations, safety education, customer relations, sales training are often discussed.
Lectures are formal presentations on a topic by an experienced and knowledgeable person. The presentation is generally supported by discussions, case studies, audio-visual aids and film shows. It is a simple and inexpensive way of imparting knowledge on a topic of special importance to a large audience.
Group discussion: In this method papers are presented by two or three trainees on a selected topic, followed by stimulating discussions. The topics for discussion are selected in advance and the papers concerning the same, written by various participants are printed and circulated beforehand. It is a variant of the lecture method and is generally preferred where the intention is to give wide circulation and participation to a number of experts sharing their experiences with a fairly large group of individuals.